5 Surprising Ways Losing Weight Will Help Your Relationship

Article posted in: Lifestyle
holding hands on the beach

Anyone who has ever been in love can attest: A swelling heart often goes hand-in-hand with a swelling waistline. Affectionately referred to as “love chub” by the happily-ever-after crowd, weight gain due to relationship satisfaction isn’t uncommon.

In fact, in a study published in 2009 in the journal Obesity (Silver Springs), researchers found that living together increased the odds of becoming obese for women by 63 percent and for men by 30 percent. In this same study, marriage doubled the risk of obesity for both spouses—107 percent for men and 127 percent for women.

These findings mirror those of a recent study, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, which revealed that married individuals had a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) than single folk.

So what’s to blame for the weight gain in content couples? According to a study in the journal Health Psychology, spouses in satisfying relationships tend to relax their weight maintenance efforts—probably because they are no longer motivated to attract a mate.

Certainly we’re not suggesting you leave your loved one—especially since research suggests that happily married people are likely to live longer, have better overall health, have stronger bones and are at less risk of having heart attacks. Rather, we’re proposing that by breaking up with those extra pounds, you can pump up the bliss factor in your relationship.

Check out these five surprising ways losing weight can improve your relationship:

1. Better Sleep—For Both of You

Anyone who has ever shared a mattress knows it isn’t always the sweet slumber romantic comedies make it out to be. Between the struggle for the cover, the wayward limbs and the annoyance of multiple alarm clocks, for many couples, sharing a bed can be a bit of a nightmare.

But perhaps the worst bedtime blunder any snuggle-buddy can make is to snore. 59 percent of obese patients suffer from sleep apnea, a condition where the person stops breathing every so often, resulting in decreased oxygen in the blood and frequent short wakeups. This increased apnea in obese individuals is the result of excess tissue in the mouth and throat that can block the airway.

That excess tissue also makes you snore. A 2015 survey of more than 8 million people found that 71 percent of obese people snore, compared to just 36 percent of people at a normal weight.

According to data from the Mayo Clinic, people who sleep with snorers wake up, at least partially, an average of 21 times an hour—almost as often as the snorers themselves.

Researchers have also reported that people who sleep with snorers have more complaints of pain, increased levels of fatigue, and may even be at risk for hearing loss. In a 2005 study, published in the journal Chest, a third of bed partners reported relationship problems as a result of snoring, likely because the lack of sleep can cause frustration, resentment and, in some cases, decreased intimacy—especially when separate bedrooms become the solution.

The good news is, whether it’s you or your spouse that’s guilty of this night-time crime, there is still hope for sound slumbers. In a 2003 study, published in Chest, doctors from the Mayo Clinic evaluated the spouses of more than 50 patients with sleep apnea. Once the patients’ sleep apnea and snoring were treated, their spouses’ sleepiness scores improved by 20 percent.

Even more impressive? The spouses’ quality-of-life scores increased even more than those who received the treatment!

For those who suffer from sleep apnea, losing just 10 percent of body weight can drastically reduce symptoms like snoring. And in some cases, losing a significant amount of weight can even cure the condition. Even for snorers who don’t suffer from sleep apnea, weight loss can bring similar benefits. These findings suggest that snorers who lose weight can be to thank for more sound sleep—and happier relationships!

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2. Better Date Nights

Research, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, demonstrated that after jointly participating in an exciting physical challenge or activity, couples report feeling more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partner.

Since carrying excess weight prevents many people from getting as active as they’d like, losing weight could be the difference between yet another boring movie night in and a thrilling night of tango lessons, bowling or rock climbing—a recipe for relationship success.

When couples do something “exciting,” even if just for a few minutes, their relationship improves: A study from 2000 found that novel and exciting experiences that last as little as seven minutes help improve relationship quality akin to the “honeymoon period” of a relationship.

Once you’ve started on your weight loss journey, opportunities to get outside, go hiking, take up biking and other physical activities abound—do them together for more fun and a relationship boost.

3. Happier Home-Life

Whether obesity leads to depression or depression leads to obesity is unclear. But one thing remains undisputed: there is a relationship between the two.

In fact, a 2010 study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, revealed that obese individuals have a 55 percent higher risk of developing depression over time compared with those of normal weight. Other studies have demonstrated that individuals who are overweight or obese are more likely to experience anxiety, panic and mood disorders.

If your weight is causing you to feel down and out, chances are that this can impact your home-life. Worse, your mood may start rubbing off on your partner, making for a doubly depressing household. While the findings regarding weight loss and mood are mixed, if losing weight makes you feel better, go for it! Your spouse will thank you.

4. A Healthier Spouse

Even if your spouse isn’t participating in a weight loss plan with you, they may lose weight—or just eat healthier—thanks to a “ripple effect.”

In a 2008 study from the International Journal of Obesity, spouses of participants on an “intensive lifestyle intervention” were more likely to lose weight as well—as much as 10 pounds, even without participating in the weight loss program. Their eating improved, too: Spouses of those on the intensive program had a greater reduction in calories from fat and had fewer high-fat foods in their home than other participants. This suggests that when one partner makes moves to lose weight and get healthier, their spouse can benefit as well!

Further support of this phenomena? A Brigham Young University study of nearly 5,000 married couples revealed that men in excellent health tended to have wives who were also healthy. And a University of Pittsburgh study found that highly active men were three times more likely to have highly active wives.

Bonus: Researchers at the University of Penn found that couples who exercise together often experience better weight loss results. Do we see a gym date in your future?

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5. More Time for Fun

You’ve likely heard by now that being overweight or obese is a risk factor for a number of conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, gallstones, metabolic syndrome—the list goes on. And as we know, these conditions require medical care—which means more time spent in the doctor’s office.

Indeed, in a review included in the International Journal of Obesity in 2009, researchers found that overweight subjects were more prone to take longer spells of sick leave (more than 7 days) from work than their thinner coworkers. Researchers also found that obese subjects were more likely to take long-term sick leave.

These findings suggest that individuals who are overweight or obese may be getting sicker than their slimmer counterparts. Imagine if you didn’t have to spend as much time at the doctor’s office, in line at the pharmacy, or sick on your couch. That’s a lot more cuddle time with your companion!

Ready to make a change for you and your partner? Get started with a Nutrisystem weight loss plan today!